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Archive for January, 2008

Notes from the little contact, friend or follower

January 28, 2008 1 comment

I prefer to follow not to invite.

I joined LinkedIn some time ago. It was my first experience with a social network. I enthusiastically searched through all my contacts adding them to my growing network. So far so good.

I then started adding more and more services that offer the option to invite friends and share with them, you know, everything that runs on a computer.

I joined: Digg, delicious, Technorati, reddit, StumbleUpon, Facebook, Plaxo and some I don’t even remember.

This is when it become hairy, it feels like I need to bug again and again people to get them on my network. So, I did not. And I don’t plan to.

I leave it for other people to ask me to be their friend or contact. I promise that I will always say yes to any invotation.

Sometime in the process of socializing me I found Twitter. This time it was a different model. No more invitation just a simple click on the “Follow” button and that’s it. No hassle no more hesitation. I like this.

What that is also nice is that if you follow someone he gets an email notification telling him who you are and most times he will start following you. So the network grows without breaking a sweat.

If you don’t want people to follow you (I would advice you not to go there in the first place)  or if you want people to ask you if they can follow you first, you can control that.

I don’t know what the result of Open Social discussion will come up with but I do know that what that Twitter guys offered works for me.

Could that be the reason why it so appealing?

follow

"Show me the money" Mr. Web 2.0

January 27, 2008 Leave a comment

I keep having these arguments with the “others” about the real value of using Web 2.0 services. In saying Web 2.0 services I refer to social networking and bookmarking, content sharing, blogging, writing comments, podcasting, using sessmic,  twitter and more. Everywhere that you can have friends, followers or someone that you can follow.

What that I’m interest in is getting the questions below answered and if possible with some examples. If I get some good ones I will be tempted to post those in a a follow-up post.

I’m not looking for something like “Steve Ballmer is following me on Twitter” or “I beat Sergey Brin playing Scrabulous on Facebook”. It is not about having a lucrative network or high traffic blog. It is about the end result – gaining a real tangible value.

I hope that with your help I can finally stop this debate. So please – Show me the moneyUsingIT.

                       showmehemoney

1. Did you get a new:

Job interview or offer, deal, invite to speak (for money)?

2. Did you sell more:

Product, services or ads?

3. Did you mange to get more participants coming to:

Paid event, seminar, party?

4. Did you get a new:

Date or a new meaningful relationship (a friend) outside the Web ?

5. Any other way to capitalize on the social digital world.

On the contrary: did you have a bad experience using these services?

I know that there are lots of other ways to enjoy this activity and I don’t dismiss the value of those. This time I’m looking for value that can be presented, quantify and is related directly to the new way of self marketing using social network.

Your help is crucial. Please use comment to answer.

If you are not a friend then you are a spammer!

January 24, 2008 2 comments

I read this article today on TechCrunch about a new blog search engine – Twingly built by a company from Sweden.

As it was describe in the article this search engine algorithm could ensure 100% spam free content. The way Twingly plans to achieve that is by starting the  search for blogs from a “legit” known blogs, traversing down and expending the list using links to other blogs posted on these sources. The assumption is that a link from a reliable source will lead to more reliable links. 

I think that this is a great idea in general. I’m not sure how big and rich the result is going to be and what will happen with new blogs that are not so well connected.

Maybe starting with a wider list and using social networks to cross reference with a blog owner will lead to a bigger scoop. Most likely a blogger won’t have a spammer friend in his network. If he has then this entire network could be labeled as “dirty”.

As I wrote in here you’ll find the blogger in multiple places with many different friends that can lead to a nice reliable source of other bloggers (not explicitly linked from his blogs). This requires to be able to match blog with a friend profile.

One more source of “clean” links is the trusted blogger’s Twitter twitts. I see lots of linked tossed around by bloggers that I follow. As you all know we need to read (be fed) before we can write (feed). It is possible that just peeling links that appear in Twitter streams we’ll end up with a search engine providing access to numerous handily picked and filtered link list. It is sure scalable.

friends2 

So, keep your network “clean” and don’t speak (make friends) with spammers!

Stop looking at the blog and start looking at the blogger – Part IV – Monitoring

January 23, 2008 Leave a comment

I was planning on writing about inspiring bloggers but I changed my mind.

I became aware of fact that more people realize that a blogger spend time not just working on his blog but interacting with his audience using social network services to increase reach and maybe influence. I see more and more services that support scoring this activity. So, maybe we did stop looking at the blog and started following the blogger.  Yet, I believe that we are still missing something.

There are lots of tools and services out there and Chris Brogan was generous to share the most significant ones with us in his recent “A Sample Social Media Toolkit” article.

So each service has different objective(s): feed management (to feed and to be fed), search, social: conversation, networks, and bookmarking.

Most services support scoring, ranking, list of top X blogs or posts.

For instance:

  • Technorati
    • Scoring Method: scoring blogs by (taken from Technorati’s online guide)
      • Rank is calculated based on how far you are from the top. The blog with the highest Technorati Authority is the #1 ranked blog. The smaller your Technorati Rank, the closer you are to the top.
      • Authority: is the number of blogs linking to a website in the last six months.   The higher the number, the more Technorati Authority the blog has.
      • fans: people can also become a fan of your blog
    • Use:
      • Help finding great and rising blogs – top 100
      • Help monitor you favorite blogs – showing recent posts
      • help seeing information about other bloggers that refers to your blog – make connection (claim) between the blog and blogger profile
      • See post mentioning a profile per day
      • Promote your blog
      • Show support for other bloggers’ posts
  • StumbleUpon
    • Scoring Method
      • social bookmaking and ranking (thumbs up or down)
    • Use:
      • You can find popular content that matches your interest
      • You can review posts and read other reviews, find people that live near you
      • Promote your blog post
      • Show support for other bloggers’ posts
      • Make new friends
  • Digg
    • Method:
      • Posts popularity – diggs
      • Number of comments (from within the site)
    • Use
      • You can find popular content
      • Promote your blog post
      • Show support for other bloggers’ posts
      • Make new friends
      • Finding good content
  • AideRSS
    • Method
      • Assign PostRank to posts based on “conversations” (comments, digg, Bloglines, Google, Delicious)
    • Use:
      • Finding great posts given a blog or a feed URL
      • Can be use for “show off” your reach
  • Social Media Index – thank you Laura for pointing me to this article
    • Method:
      • The best work I’ve seen so far looking at wide variety of social services. Define different scores and compile a single number (using flexible weighted average)
    • Use:
      • An attempt to measure influence

Maybe this is the subject with a lot of interest or is it just because I started looking I keep seeing more and more content about  blog measurements of success.

See:

  

So, what I’m missing?

  1. What a great blogger is doing? Monitoring
  2. What is the underline archetype(s) for a great blogger? Matching, Categorizing

Blogger Activity Monitoring

  • Method:
    • Not looking for a scores or traffic measures but using them
    • Using both blogs and profiles from any given social network as the driving source for potential bloggers. First asking “who?” then asking “do you have a blog?” and then, “what are you doing (or not) and where”?
    • Looking at the blogger online activity and online records of offline activity
    • Monitoring individual blogger and across the entire community
    • Looking for changes in the blogger behavior patterns
    • Monitoring tag usage – comparison, category shifts, expansions
    • Monitoring referrals – what a great blogger recommend (and where? twitter, delicious etc…)  – this could be use as new leads
  • Use:
    • Finding leads for upcoming great blogger’s and their content
    • Finding the blogger “weapon of choice” (i.e. Twitter, social bookmarking, social networking, seesmic, tagging)
    • See where the action is (which network is hot not just by the number of its members)
    • Finding inactive blogger/network or a sudden drop in activity
    • Retention – for a network to keep influential individuals (they come and go with friends)
    • Advertising – betting on the right horse (providing alerts)
    • Building a new network – luring influential bloggers
    • Offline: looking for the right leaders for the right event (one who can bring and communicate with the right audience)
    • Meltdown: finding loss of power and influence
    • What is going on in my network (outside the current service)?
    • Blog marketing – finding the person to get on his radar by knowing his hangout places and distribution channels/methods.
    • Great bloggers can help find more great bloggers – who are they following? who are they adding as new friends?

This information is not a static rank or index. It is a dynamic picture of a blogger and bloggers community. The result of the monitoring could be use for taking real actions beyond just reading the blog content.

Blogger and archetypes:

I’m not so keen about the way blogs are categorize. Yes, it is great to find blogs about technology and software but it is not clear if the blogger is a leader, has imagination or he is an inspiring writer.

I think that matching a blogger with archetype can help finding a great blogger. Not sure yet how this could be done: if detected automatically or in an interactive way.

Archetype is in the basis of any great literature and story telling. Carl Jung had a big contribution to psychology using the concept of psychological archetypes. Some known archetype are: The wise old man, the eternal boy and the artist-scientist. Do you recognize yourself Mr. Blogger?

I worked for a tiny start-up company that the CEO use to ask candidate in an interviews what movie character are you?

goofy

Goofy wasn’t a good answer:)

When you blog what is your voice? Are you Yoda, Seinfeld or Miss Piggy?

I’m not sure if this is the end of the series but I hope that I’m clear about the fact that I’m not looking for a score, rank or index – I’m looking to find and understand great blogger’s actions.

Are you human? Not an easy question to answer these days!

January 19, 2008 1 comment

It used to be clear and simple question to answer: are you human?. Now everywhere I go I need to prove that I’m human. And some times it is not that easy. I’m taking a little comic pause here from the “Stop looking at the bloger..” series and showing some of my recent experience proving my humanity.

Did you too see too many of those lately?

human

I signed up to reddit, a realy great service and one of this blog best trafic source, following the social crowd checking what they have to offer compare to del.icio.us. I tried to submit a blog post and then I realize that I need to have both good eye sight and luck to prove that I’m not a robot.

In the first attempt reddit system told me that I was too quick to be true – see:

toofast

Hovering over the image shows an interesting tool tip building my confidence even further:

working

In one of my persistent attempt the page prompt a compliment how my words are stinking. I could not reproduce this so I don’t have a picture. I just hope that you’ll fine me human enough to believe me.

To be fair, this only happen when I was using one of those buttons embedded inside a blog post. When I submitted a post from within the reddit website it was working fine.

Is there a better way proving my humanity? One that won’t challenge my built-in OCR algorithm? Maybe one day it will be inferior compare to the automated one? I don’t have a problem with email confirmation by the way.

Stop looking at the blog and start looking at the blogger – Part III – Imagination

January 17, 2008 1 comment

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Albert Einstein

                                                Albert Einstein

What if Mr. Einstein was a blogger? Can you imagine that? Was his blog buried somewhere under math and science in digg?

In my first post I mentioned few types of bloggers and the Web 2.0 blogger in particular. Two post from then as I look closer I see that it is actually divided further to additional subtypes and I already mentioned the Leader. In this post I plan to focus on the imaginative blogger.

My plan is to post one more piece about inspiration to demonstrate an additional subtype. I will be happy to get examples of inspiring bloggers if you have any (I have two already). Then I plan to take a stub at patterns discovery that correlates with each one of the mentioned types (… oh boy!) . The end game is defining a model that may be useful finding leads for upcoming great bloggers, as I said it previously, by looking beyond their blog. And maybe a final post about the value of this information.

So, now to imagination. I will start with my understanding of imagination. I love time travel stories (I’m not sure that these are really the best but a good enough list). I love them because of the endless possibilities that opens up by removing just one single constraint such as the continuity of time. It really gets my imagination going (if I only bought APPL in 2003 knowing what I know today).

Living well with a constrain like in the 140story featured  (by @Joshua Rothhaas) in Twitter shows good imagination as well.

In other cases imagination has to do with unique observations; seeing things or the lack of (and naming them) that other don’t notice like Seth Godin who was desperately looking for a single Purple Cow in the meadow.

It is also not easy to come up with original content all the time like Merlin Mann in his 43folders web sites and blogs (see 5ives). These are mostly not posts about news or their interpretations.

I’m sure that there are many more forms of imagination exercised by an imaginative blogger online and offline.

Does your stream of thoughts in Twitter and the unique way using it shows imagination? Does the way you tag indicate a different mind set? Is a high likeness score in Facebook is a good or bad thing?

Please let me discover what I don’t know that I don’t know yet.

Categories: Method, Observations, Software

Stop looking at the blog and start looking at the blogger – Part II – Uncovering Leadership

January 12, 2008 2 comments

gandhi_pd I won’t dive into the definition of leadership I’m not pretending to be an expert in this subject although I read more than few books, I also went to few leadership training and seminars to be able to recognize one.  For the sake of this post I will define leadership simply by saying that a leader is someone that spur change(s).

Example of changes:

These examples are for famous dramatic changes but there are so many different changes that happen all the time when blogger leaps to leadership.

So, how do we discover this potential as early as possible and monitor it. One’s blog is just the tip of the iceberg and not enough to uncover upcoming leaders. We can only use it as a lead (prospect) for further research.

Will we see a leader search engine that will find: Maki Dosh, Caroline, Andy Beard, Laura Athavale Fitton(Pistachio) and many others?

Will we be able to track their progress, accomplishments and influence looking beyond their blog?

In this post I did not describe how to do so i.e. what can we learn from changes in the data (see first post in this series).  I’m still developing the idea and working to identify the key factors. I do see a strong correlation with being active in the offline world but not yet convinced that this is essential.

See you in the next post.

Categories: Method, Observations, Software
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